A Self-Awareness Intervention Manipulation for Heavy-Drinking Men’s Alcohol-Related Aggression Toward Women

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Objective: The primary aim of the present investigation was to directly examine a theoretically based, self-awareness intervention manipulation for at-risk men’s alcohol-related aggression toward women. This study was developed in response to a call in the literature for research to (a) empirically investigate specific intervention techniques that reduce aggression, and (b) identify in whom such interventions will have the greatest impact. Method: A community sample (77% African American) of 94 heavy-drinking males age 21 years and older (M = 35.61) completed a battery of questionnaires that assessed alcohol consumption and perpetration of aggression toward women during the past year as well as dispositional masculine gender role stress. Participants were randomly assigned to an intervention manipulation designed to focus attention onto inhibitory, self-awareness cues, or a control group. Following beverage consumption, participants were provoked with a gender-relevant provocation from a female confederate and participants’ physical aggression was measured using a shock-based aggression task. Results: Men who received the intervention manipulation, relative to control, enacted significantly less alcohol-related physical aggression toward the female confederate. This finding held for men who reported lower, but not higher, levels of masculine gender role stress. Conclusion: Findings support the development of interventions that aim to redirect intoxicated men’s attention toward stimuli that are nonaggressive, nonprovocative, or prohibitive of aggressive behavior. However, caution is warranted that en masse dissemination of such interventions may not impact the most at-risk men for alcohol-related violence toward women.

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